By Joe Paprocki, DMin
Corporal Works of Mercy
- The Corporal Works of Mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their everyday material and physical needs.
Feed the Hungry
Shelter the Homeless
- see to the proper nutrition of your loved ones,
- support and volunteer for food pantries, soup kitchens, and agencies that feed the hungry
- make a few sandwiches to hand out as you walk through areas where you might encounter people in need
- educate yourself about world hunger
- avoid wasting food
- share your meals with others.
Clothe the Naked
- help neighbors care for their homes and do repairs
- support and/or volunteer at a homeless shelter
- support and/or volunteer for charitable agencies who care for the homeless, build homes, and provide support in the wake of natural disasters
- advocate for public policies and legislation that provide housing for low-income people
- consider becoming a foster parent.
Visit the Sick
- go through your drawers and closets and find good-condition clothes and shoes to donate to agencies that provide assistance for those in need
- participate in programs that provide towels and linens for hospitals in distressed areas
- Volunteer to work at a clothing drive or at a shelter where clothing is distributed to those in need
- Support the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society
Visit the Imprisoned
- spend quality time with those who are sick or homebound
- take the time to call, send a card or an e-mail to someone who is sick
- volunteer to drive patients to medical appointments and treatment facilities
- volunteer at a hospital
- assist those who are full-time caregivers for family members
- cook and delivers meals to the sick and homebound
Give to the Poor
- support and/or participate in ministries to those who are incarcerated
- support programs sponsored by agencies that advocate on behalf of those who are unjustly imprisoned
- support job-training and educational programs designed to rehabilitate prisoners
- pray for the families of inmates
- support programs that provide holiday gifts for prisoners and their families
- support efforts that seek the abolition of the death penalty
Bury the Dead
- take some small bills or loose change (or coupon books if you prefer not to carry cash) with you to hand out to people you encounter who are in need
- throw your coin change into a jar and periodically donate it to a charity
- if possible make a regular monetary donation to a charity that tends to the needs of the poor.
Spiritual Works of Mercy
- be faithful about attending wakes/visitation
- support or volunteer at a hospice
- participate in a bereavement ministry
- spend time with widows and widowers
- take friends and relatives to visit the cemetery
- support ministries that offer free Christian burials to those unable to afford one
- offer daily prayers for those with terminal illnesses and for those who have died
- send Mass cards to families of those who have died.
- The Spiritual Works of Mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their everyday spiritual and emotional needs.
- commit yourself to learning about the Catholic faith and share your understanding of the faith with others and with those who welcome it
- share your insights, knowledge, and skills with others, especially friends, fellow students, coworkers
- take time to “tutor” those who are just beginning tasks
- read good literature and encourage others to do the same.
- be courageous yet compassionate in calling people and institutions to be faithful to Gospel values
- intervene in situations in which people are clearly doing harm to themselves or others
- respond to negative and prejudicial comments with positive statements
- put an end to gossip by walking away; set a good example for others.
- work at being optimistic and avoiding cynicism
- respond to cynicism, skepticism, and doubt with hope
- be articulate about your own hopes
- ask people about their hopes and support them in trying to attain them.
- walk with others through their pain
- offer words of encouragement to those who seem discouraged
- offer positive words to fellow students or coworkers who are having a difficult time with their tasks
- be present to those who are struggling or in emotional pain or despair
- offer sympathy to those who are grieving.
Bearing wrongs patiently
- pray for those who have wronged you and pray for the courage to forgive;
- ask forgiveness from others;
- let go of grudges; go out of your way to be positive with someone you are having a difficult time with.
- work at being less critical of others
- overlook minor flaws and mistakes
- give people the benefit of the doubt
- assume that people who may have hurt you did so because they are enduring pain of their own
- pray for those who have wronged you.
* Some of the above suggestions need to be adapted for young children and should not be practiced without the supervision or accompaniment of an adult